Tuesday, January 09, 2018

10 Tips To Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Americans eat 76 times the sugar than their ancestors did!

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Make This Year the Healthiest Ever!
With the holidays are behind us, and like we do most Januaries, we want to get healthy, shed some pounds, feel better, and commit to doing something good for ourselves. Perhaps lowering our sugar intake would be an excellent start.

Lowering our Sugar Consumption is a Great Way to Start the New Year!
Today, the average American consumes an average of 152 pounds of sugar per year. That’s 6 cups of sugar a week or 14 tablespoons per day! At 48 calories per tablespoon, 14 tablespoons chews up 672 calories. These are calories that are displacing those that would contribute minerals, vitamins, and other important nutrients that would benefit, not detract, from your health. Or, they would be added calories that would lead to obesity, overall inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and more. It would take you more than two hours of brisk walking to burn up 14 tablespoons of sugar. Not many of us have the time or commitment to do that.

To put this in prospective, two hundred years ago the average American only ate 2 pounds of sugar per year. When we wonder why diseases like cancer, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, autism, various autoimmune conditions, and other degenerative disorders have skyrocketed over the past hundred or so years, it may very well be attributed, at least in part, to our drastic increase in sugar consumption. How did all that sugar end up in our diets and what can we do about it?  

Where is this Sugar Coming From?
Sugar finds its way into our food supply in many forms and with many names. It’s in jams and jellies, cakes, cookies, crackers, soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, specialty coffee drinks like lattes, specialty tea drinks, like chai, candy, breakfast cereals, ice cream, fruit yogurts, canned vegetables, prepared foods like canned soups, condiments, and more. 

It also has many names such as glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, lactose, honey, sorghum syrup, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, corn sweetener, sorbitol, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, barley malt, agave nectar, beet sugar, date sugar, molasses and more. 

Tips to Reduce our Sugar Consumption
Here are some easy and painless tips on how to reduce our sugar consumption:
#1: Read labels
Look for all the different names for sugar on the labels. New labels will now have “added sugars” in grams. Dietary guidelines suggest that no more than 10% of your daily calories come from added sugar. I personally think that’s too much as it’s still over 4 tablespoons of sugar per day given a 2,000 calorie diet.  
(Note: 1 tablespoon sugar = 12.5 grams = 48 calories.)

The new label has "added sugar"

#2: Eat PB&F instead of PB&J
Instead of smearing sugary jelly or jam on your peanut or almond butter sandwich, place slices of fresh fruit or berries on your sandwich. Sliced strawberries, apples, pears, persimmons, and bananas are some of my favorite additions to my nut butter sandwiches. One tablespoon of jelly contains 56 calories, almost no fiber, and 11 g of sugar (almost a tablespoon of sugar).  A third of a cup of sliced strawberries, on the other hand, would only have 18 calories, less than 3 grams of sugar, provide over a gram of dietary fiber, and important vitamins and minerals such as folate and manganese. 

Almond butter sandwich with fresh strawberries 

#3: Replace Soda
Instead of drinking soda, energy or other sugary drinks, have a cold glass of bubbly water with a splash of juice. My favorite is a glass of Pellegrino with a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice and a twist of lime. Or just add a slice of cucumber or strawberry to a cold glass of water. A 12-ounce cola beverage has 136 calories and contains 33 grams of sugar (over 2 ½ tablespoons of sugar), zero fiber and no significant nutrients. Just giving up one soda a day would be avoiding 60 cups of sugar per year and allow you to lose 14 pounds! Although drinking diet soda may avoid added sugar, the sugar substitute aspartame, used in most diet sodas, has been associated with a number of reported complaints such as headaches, dizziness, eye issues, mood changes, digestive issues, and more. 

#4: Reduce Sugar in Recipes
I find that I can easily reduce sugar in recipes without adversely affecting its taste. For example, in baking I replace a cup of sugar with ¼ to ½ cup of sugar plus some stevia to make up for the loss of sweetness. No one has ever noticed!

#5: Don’t buy Fruit Yogurt
Fruit yogurt sounds healthy but it’s loaded with sugar. For example, a container of Kite Hill Peach dairy-free yogurt has 180 calories and 15 grams of sugar, much of which comes from cane sugar. That same container of the plain, unsweetened yogurt has 140 calories with zero sugar. So it’s always best to find unsweetened yogurt and add your own chopped fresh fruit. 

Select unsweetened yogurt and add your own fresh fruit

#6: Ditch the Donuts
An Original Glazed Krispy Kreme donut has 190 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Or if you are opting for a Dunkin Frosted Sugar Cookie Donut, you are signing up for 420 calories and a whopping 30 grams of sugar. Although bagels contain far less sugar (zero to 6 grams), they can be high in calories, especially if they are covered with full fat cream cheese. In any case, swapping out one or two donuts with a single bagel, smeared with slices of avocado, would be a better choice.


Eat an avocado bagel with seeds instead of a donut

#7: Sugary Cereals, Oh My!
There is so much sugar in some breakfast cereals, that they should be carried in the candy isle. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks are 56% sugar, weighing in at 15 grams per serving. Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Marshmallow are 48% sugar and also contain 15 grams of sugar per serving. No need to go on – there are far too many examples of bad cereals that are heavily marketed to young children.  

Always read the labels on boxes of cereal

There are, however, some better choices, like Ezekiel 4:9 Almond Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal that has nutrient-rich ingredients and less than a single gram of sugar. 
A much better choice of cereal

But my favorite cereal alternative is homemade oatmeal sprinkled with omega-3 walnuts and a dollop of dairy-free, unsweetened yogurt.

#8: Reduce Sugar in Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are healthy beverages. But somehow Starbucks has turned them into high calorie, high fat, and high sugar drinks. A grande Coffee Frappuccion has 240 calories and 50 grams (4 tablespoons) of sugar. And a grande Green Tea Crème Frappuccino has 430 calories with 65 grams (5 tablespoons) of sugar. So stick to your regular coffee or tea with a touch of stevia and enjoy the many benefits of these drinks. 

If you want to enjoy a fancy latte, get a frother and make a green tea latte with unsweetened non-dairy milk and a bit of stevia. 

Homemade latte with no sugar

#9: Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
When I was a CEO, I had a continual battle with the vending machine company trying to get them to offer healthy snacks to my employees. Other than a few offerings of nuts and trail mixes, the rest consisted of sugar-filled candy bars or salty chips. When you work in an office and start to get hungry around 4:00, your food choices may not be great. One Snickers bar has 30 grams of sugar, a bag of Skittles has 47 grams, a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar has 31 grams, a York Peppermint Pattie has 25 grams, and a Milky Way has 35 grams. So make sure you bring a piece of fruit to work or keep a little fruit bowl on your desk with tangerines, apples, and bananas. And take an ounce of raw nuts along with you too, like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans. 
Fresh fruit is a great pick-me-up

#10: Canned Vegetables
Canned vegetables often contain added sugar. You will find sugar listed in the ingredients of many popular brands of canned vegetables. Whether they do this for preservation or just to cater to the American palate, is a mystery. So if you are not able to buy fresh vegetables, always buy them frozen as they generally do not contain added sugar. 


Ingredients: Peas, Water, Sugar, Salt
Ingredients: Garden Peas

If you make these simple changes to reduce the sugar in your diet, you can significantly improve your health. You may miss sugar at first as our taste buds get attuned to too much fat, salt, and sugar - manufacturers count on this. But as we transition to a healthier lifestyle by reducing these ingredients in our diet, we lose our cravings for them and once again appreciate the natural delicious flavors of undoctored foods. 










Monday, January 01, 2018

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Macro Bowl
Start The New Year Off Right
How To Construct A Macro Bowl

Eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day for good luck!

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My Annual Black-Eyed Pea Recipe
I learned, when living in Texas, that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's day brings good luck. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't - but I don't dare start the year without them, just in case. To make sure I didn't mess with tradition, my daughter even sent me a pound of these lucky charms from Minneapolis for Christmas. 

I must admit, black-eyed peas aren't my favorite food so it's even more challenging to come up with a yummy recipe every year. But this year, I'm very excited about this macro bowl - especially because it's complemented with a tasty tahini sauce.

This recipe is a bit complicated as I use my Instant Pot for the kale and black-eyed peas, the oven to roast the potatoes, and my rice cooker to prepare the GABA rice. But it's all worth it in the end and, after all, it's New Year's day!

Constructing a Macro Bowl     
Macro bowls are very versatile and extremely healthy as they include a nice variety of foods. Here's how I construct mine:

#1 Protein  
For your protein, you can use any bean, tofu, tempeh, even shrimp or salmon.

#2 Greens
Steam kale, chard, spinach, mustard or other greens.

#3 Root Vegetables
Roast carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, turnips, or any other root vegetable. Just dice, toss with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked and brown.

#4 Grain
Use white, black, brown, or GABA rice, millet, quinoa, farro (not gluten free), or any of your favorite grains. 

#5 Avocado
Avocados make everything taste better. 

#6 Seaweed or a Fermented Vegetable
I usually put some raw sauerkraut or seaweed salad on my macro bowls, whichever I happen to have in the house. It's always good to have a fermented food as part of your meal. Your microbiome will thank you.

#7 A Yummy Sauce
Top your macro bowl with your favorite sauce. Today I made a tahini sauce but any of your favorite sauces will do.

#8 Seeds
Sprinkle your macro bowl with hemp, black or white sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds for added nutrients.

When plating your macro bowl, be aware of the colors of the ingredients and place them to optimize the contrast. 

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Black-Eyed Pea Macro Bowl
Vegan, Gluten and Dairy Free

Ingredients PER PERSON
1/2 cup cooked black-eyed peas
1 cup steamed kale
1/2 sweet potato, diced and roasted
1/3 - 1/2 cup cooked rice or other grain
1/4 avocado, sliced
Small serving of raw sauerkraut or seaweed salad
Teaspoon of black sesame seeds

For the sauce (4 servings, ~ 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons raw tahini
1 tablespoon cold-pressed hemp oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave or honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon water

Directions
Cook the black-eyed peas on the stovetop according to package directions. Or use canned black-eyed peas.
To cook in your Instant Pot, place unsoaked dry peas in the instant pot with a bay leaf, some onion and celery, and cover with at least two inches of water. Set Manual to 6 minutes. When done, let pressure come down naturally. Move them to a covered dish to keep warm. If using your Instant Pot to make the greens, rinse out the Instant Pot.

Black-eyed peas take 6 to 7 minutes in the Instant Pot. Cover with enough water as they will swell.

Clean kale, remove stems, and thinly slice. Steam kale on stovetop until tender. To cook in your Instant Pot, place in the pot with 1/4 cup of water, a touch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Set Manual to 3 minutes. When done, release pressure and remove.

To roast the sweet potatoes, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place small diced potatoes in a shallow roasting pan (I like to line the pan with a silicon baking sheet). Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste and mix well. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring half way through.

Cook rice in your rice cooker, or on the stovetop, according to directions. I used GABA rice because my daughter gave me a beautiful GABA rice cooker a few years ago and it cooks any kind of rice to perfection, but any type of rice or grain will do.

Make the sauce: Place the tahini in a small bowl and slowly stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined. 

Use fresh limes or lemons

Build the bowl: Get a good size shallow bowl. Place the cooked greens in the bowl. Next, the rice, then the roasted sweet potatoes, then the seaweed salad, avocado, and black eyed peas. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve with the tahini dressing.

If you use sauerkraut instead of the seaweed salad, place that near the peas.


Happy New Year!
May you enjoy outrageous health and happiness in 2018!








Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake is dairy and gluten free!

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Great Cake for the Holidays 
As more and more guests show up with gluten and dairy allergies, this is a good dessert to have on hand. It is not vegan, however, as it needs eggs. At the end of this post, you can read about my efforts to veganize this recipe. 

First I will say that I did not invent this. My friend Margarite saw it on the internet and told me about it after I showed her a flourless chocolate cake I found in a magazine. That particular cake had almond flour, tons of sugar, butter, and was very high in calories. I knew that I could make it healthier and even try to make it vegan. But then she showed me this recipe that only had two ingredients - chocolate and eggs. I couldn't believe it! Although she had seen the recipe, she had never made it so I invited her over for the big experiment.

If you make it with vegan chocolate, it will be dairy and gluten free. My favorite chocolate is Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate - 72% cocoa. You can use any of your favorite chocolate chips or chocolate bars - you just need 9 ounces.


You can also spruce up the cake with berries and powdered sugar. 

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Two Ingredient Chocolate Cake
(Gluten Free, Dairy Free if using vegan chocolate)
makes 6 servings

Requirements
6-inch Spring Form Pan

Ingredients
4 large eggs, room temperature
9 ounces chocolate 
Powdered sugar (optional)
Raspberries to garnish (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 6" spring form pan.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook, in 30 second increments, until the chocolate melts. This can take 1 minute or slightly longer. You can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler, which is a bit messier.

Melted chocolate

Separate the eggs. Place the whites in a large, clean, glass bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. This can take a while so be patient. 

Beaten egg whites

Let the chocolate cool a bit and then, one by one, whip each yolk into the chocolate until well combined.

Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture. Then repeat with the next 1/3 of the egg whites. And finally, with the last 1/3 of the egg whites.


Pour the batter into the greased 6-inch spring form pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a cake rack for 15 minutes or so. Then, release.


Release and serve

You can dress this up with powdered sugar, berries, or a scoop of non-dairy ice cream!

Nutrition:
Per serving: 258 calories, 21 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 141 mg cholesterol, 7 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 12 g sugar, 5 g dietary fiber, and 47 mg sodium.

Sometimes you just need an egg!
For my vegan followers, I tried really hard to make this vegan. I whipped up aquafaba (garbanzo bean juice) into beautiful peeks of "egg" white. I replaced the yolks with flax eggs and the result was a complete failure! I won't give up trying, but if you want a good laugh, here's how my vegan experiment turned out. It was basically a melted chocolate bar. We scraped it off and ate it anyway :-)

Sometimes you just need an egg!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Ideas

Gifts for cooks and future cooks!

For you Late Shoppers
Sorry my annual gift ideas is so late. You've probably done most of your shopping by now, especially for Chanukah, but better late than never.

Most Popular and Useful
So the number one gift everyone seems to be buying is an Instant Pot. I can't recommend any gift more than this one. I've bought one for everyone who wants one and even for some who thought they didn't. It will simply revolutionize the way you cook. From dorm rooms to the fanciest kitchens, there is simply no better gift for the beginning or experienced cook!

I highly recommend the 6 Quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

They have a smaller 3-quart one which I think is fairly useless. I own a 6 quart and an 8 quart but I think the 6 quart is the best size for most people. 

A great gift for someone who already has an instant pot is a glass lid for the pot. I use this when I'm using the IP as a slow cooker or to make yogurt. This allows you to see what you are cooking when the pressure cooker lid is not required. 

The Instant Pot glass lid is extremely useful and makes a great gift.

Instant Pot Cook Books, and more
One of my favorite Pressure Cooker Chefs and Cook Book authors is The Veggie Queen. Check out her books, and DVDs on the Veggie Queen Website. 

Jill Nussinow, "The Veggie Queen" has  numerous books on Pressure Cooker recipes.

The Gift of Caring
This has been a really tough year for lots of folks -from those who have suffered hurricanes to those in California who have lost their homes in the fires. So a great gift would be a donation to a food bank in someone's name. To encourage philanthropy, give a family with kids an amount for them to donate so they can give some thought about those they wish to help. Hurricane and fire relief funds are great too, especially if you know someone in the effected areas.

A gift to a local food bank makes a loving and thoughtful gift.

Shop Local
Go to farmer's markets and holiday fairs and purchase locally made gifts. Or buy gift certificates to local restaurants or mom-and-pop stores. These will delight people with gifts and meals they can select for themselves while feeling good about helping their local community.

More Ideas from Previous Years.
I have dozens and dozens of gift ideas from previous years, so here are some links to those. 

2013 - Great Christmas Gifts for Healthy Cooking.

2014 - Chanukah and Christmas Gift Ideas for Health-Conscious Cooks. Many Gifts Under $20 and $35.

2015 - 10 Holiday Gift Ideas Under $25.

2016 - Top 10 Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas.

Check them all out and happy shopping!!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup
Vegan And Gluten Free

This low calorie soup is excellent for weight loss.

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Weight Loss Between the Holidays
I'm probably not alone at wanting to shed the Thanksgiving pounds before the next wave of holidays. I've always been a proponent of healthy soups for making this happen. Here's a easy and delicious soup that is less than 150 calories per hearty serving and also has 6 grams of dietary fiber.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable which contains the phytochemical sulforaphane. This compound has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to its ability to prevent and treat several types of cancer. Inflammation also contributes to many long-term chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and more.

The high fiber content of cauliflower not only helps keep you full, contributing to weight loss, but also helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, helps feed your gut bacteria, reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, and keeps you regular. 

Instead of using cream, this soup gets its creamy texture from potatoes allowing it to be dairy and cholesterol free.


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Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
[makes 6 servings]

Requirements
Hand Held Immersion Blender 
Instant Pot

Ingredients
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large head cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into florets
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth*
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
*5 cups for stovetop recipe

Directions
Heat the oil in the Instant Pot by pressing the “Sauté” button. Add the onion and celery and cook until they soften, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes. Press the “Off” button.

Add the cauliflower, potatoes, 4 cups of broth, bay leaf, salt, black and cayenne pepper to the Instant Pot. Secure the lid, press the “Manual” button, and set for 4 minutes at high pressure. When done, quickly release the pressure and remove the lid carefully with the steam pointed towards the back. 

(To cook on the stovetop, heat the oil in a soup pot and sauté the onion and celery for several minutes. Add the cauliflower and potatoes, 5 cups of broth, the bay leaf, salt, black and cayenne pepper. Cook on a low boil, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Continue with the recipe.)

Remove a cup or more of the cooked vegetables, roughly chop and set aside. 

Remove the bay leaf and add the lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining soup until smooth. You can also do this in a blender but take care not to over process.

For a chunky soup, remove some of the cooked vegetables before you blend the soup and put them back in after blending. Skip this step for a completely blended soup.
An immersion blender makes blending a lot easier.

Stir in the chopped vegetables, adjust seasoning if needed,  and serve. 

Nutritional Information:
Per serving (6): 149 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 60 mg omega-3 and 219 g omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 6 g dietary fiber, and 438 mg sodium.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Holiday Recipes Deserve Homemade Broth
Instant Pot And Stove Top Vegetable Broth

Homemade broth is far superior to store bought.

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Homemade Broth is Far Superior
When I'm in a hurry, I often just use a Rapunzel bouillon cube for broth. I find most boxed broths taste like dishwater or they can be over salted and just unusable. But for my holiday recipes, I like to make my own broth. Especially on Thanksgiving when I need broth for soup, stuffing, and cooking potatoes or side veggies. 

You can either use fresh vegetables for your broth or veggie scraps that you have been saving in the freezer. But since it's a holiday, let's go all out and use fresh vegetables and herbs. 

Use your Instant Pot for a quick and easy broth or cook or simmer on the stovetop which is just as easy but takes a bit longer. You can double the recipe if needed.

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Instant Pot or Stovetop Vegetable Broth
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
[makes 4 cups]

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced carrots
1 cup mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs parsley
1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorns
Salt to taste

Directions
For the Instant Pot:
Heat the oil in the Instant Pot by pressing the SAUTE button. Add the veggies and garlic and cook until they just begin to soften, stirring frequently, about 4 to 5 minutes. Press the OFF button.

Add the remaining ingredients. Cover with water and stir. Secure the lid and press the MANUAL button and set for 10 minutes at high pressure. When done, press OFF and let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid carefully with the steam pointed towards the back. 

Strain out the vegetables and herbs. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later use.

For the Stove Top:
Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and saute the vegetables and garlic, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover with water, stir, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least an hour. Strain out the vegetables and herbs. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later use.



Wednesday, November 08, 2017

It's Time To Make Serrano Pepper Hot Sauce
Salsa Picante Makes A Great Holiday Gift!

Turn those garden Serrano peppers into hot sauce.

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Fall Brings Peppers
Fall in Northern California is generally the time to pull out your summer crops and plant broccoli, kale, beets, lettuce, garlic, and other winter crops. The one plant that is still in the ground, however, and that's always late to produce is our pepper crop. 

But now it's time to pick them before the weather turns bad so I picked all the serrano peppers and most of the red pimento and poblano peppers. But what do you do with 3 pounds of serranos when only one is needed to flavor a dish? Well, let's make hot sauce!

I blogged a hot sauce recipe a few years ago using jalapeños and serranos but this year I'm using serrano peppers combined with a sweet red pimento pepper. It's still turned out super hot, but the sweet pepper cut the heat a little bit and gave it a nice flavor.

Sweet red pimento peppers cut the heat a bit and adds a lovely flavor to the hot sauce.

This recipe makes a lot of hot sauce (10 cups) so feel free to cut it down. Or, if you have lots of serranos and want to make this big a batch, fill some cute little bottles and give them away as holiday presents.

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Salsa Picante with Serrano Peppers
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 10 cups]

Requirements
High Speed Blender
5 quart or larger, enamel-coated Dutch oven 

Ingredients
3 pounds serrano peppers
1 pound sweet red peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
12 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups water
3 1/2 cups white distilled vinegar

Directions
Cut the tops off the serrano peppers. Then, cut them down the middle lengthwise. Set aside.
Remove the tops and the inner seeds from the sweet peppers. Dice and set aside. 

Heat the oil on medium heat and cook the onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 



Stir in the serrano and red peppers along with the salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. 


Add the water and cook uncovered, on a medium boil, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are very soft and the water is greatly reduced but not completely dry. (I started with 4 cups of water and it took over an hour for it to cook down so maybe 3 cups of water would have been enough.) 

Add water and boil.

Cook until almost dry but not completely.

Unless you have a really big blender, you will have to blend in two batches.
Place half the cooked peppers and half the vinegar in a blender and process until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the peppers and vinegar.

Unless you have a 12 cup blender, you will have to process the peppers and vinegar in two batches.

Pour the hot sauce into jars and refrigerate. It will last for over a year!


Or pour into small bottles with a cute label and give them away as holiday gifts!

Salsa Picante makes a yummy holiday gift!